Torture Prosecutions and the Media

Glenn Greenwald has another great post today discussing why the traditional media seems so hell-bent on “looking forward” and not prosecuting Bush administration officials for their war crimes.

What I find most striking is that if I had waterboarded some 22-year-old white college student who was spending spring break in Cancún, these very same media figures would be howling for my head. There would be round-the-clock coverage of the investigation and then the inevitable trial. The same goes if I had forced her into stress positions for hours while keeping her locked in a concrete and chain-link cell, or if I had instead kidnapped five co-eds and forced them into naked pyramids.

I find Glenn Greenwald’s argument that the media is essentially protecting the establishment to protect itself convincing, but that doesn’t answer the question of why these incidents weren’t more widely covered to begin with. Certainly, the power-and-access dynamic that drives the media today existed years ago when these revelations were first made, and would have had a similar effect. However, just as kidnapped black co-eds receive less media attention than kidnapped white co-eds, I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason the media is so dismissive of torture is that it is happening to Arabs.

Well, Muslims, obviously, rather than Arabs, but the media has never really bothered to explore that distinction either.

Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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